Computer-Generated Poetry Competition

The Neukom Institute at Dartmouth College recently held its annual PoetiX competition, where judges assessed whether ten carefully-selected poems had computer or human authors. Unsurprisingly, the judges had little trouble differentiating the human poems from their machine-written counterparts. The NPR podcast linked below discusses why automated programs cannot write perfect sonnets and will also let you compare human and software-generated poetry.

NPR PoetiX Competition Summary and Podcast

Usability Tests with Fruit

While usability testing has entered the mainstream of technical communication and education technology over the past twenty years, engineers, students, and executives do not always grasp the value of these tests. The video below will bring back fond memories for anyone who has conducted usability tests and humorously introduces some of its methods: think-aloud protocols, eye-tracking, post-test interviews, etc. If nothing else, the video demonstrates the patience of usability professionals and reminds us why even simple designs should always involve real users.